National Bike Bill passes U.S. House vote

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
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Bike legislation is moving
forward in D.C.
(Photo © J. Maus)

House Congressional Resolution 305, also known as the National Bike Bill, has passed through a vote by the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this week.

The resolution — which was introduced by Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) back in February — recognizes the importance of bicycling to “enriching the nation’s health, reducing traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions, and improving America’s economic vitality and overall quality of life.”

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Bikes, politics, and Blumenauer as Transportation Secretary?

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An animated Earl Blumenauer
speaking at the Oregon Bike
Summit a few months ago.
(All photos © J. Maus)

As the nation’s political winds shift from right to left, the future of the transportation issue in America begins to look very different.

Remember last summer, when U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters referred to “bike paths” as not being transportation infrastructure? After a stern rebuke by bike advocates, she eventually tried to apologize, but her comments were a window into how some folks on Capitol Hill still regard non-motorized transportation.

And then there was House Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), who, in a debate over the Energy Bill last August referred to bicycles as “a 19th century solution to a 21st century problem.” (Watch a YouTube clip of his speech here).

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Bike Commuter Act, “Hummer tax loophole” up for House vote tomorrow

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
National Bike Summit 07

Blumenauer, shown here at the National Bike
Summit last year, hopes his Bike Commuter
Act will finally fly with lawmakers.
(Photo © J. Maus)

On the heels of record profits by the big five oil companies, U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Portland) will once again try to enact a tax benefit for bike commuters and close the “Hummer tax loophole.”

The bike commuter tax benefit (a.k.a. the Bike Commuter Act and the Conserve By Bike provision) would amend the IRS code to include “bicycles” in the definition of transportation covered by fringe benefits. The Hummer tax loophole would fix what Blumenauer refers to as “a serious mistake” in the tax code that provides an additional tax break for business purchases of luxury SUVs weighing over 6,000 lbs.

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Bike commuter benefit does not survive Senate vote on Energy Bill

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National Bike Summit 07

Congressman Earl Blumenauer introducing the
Bike Commuter Act on Capitol Hill last March.
(Photo © Jonathan Maus)

The bike commuter tax benefit — which was introduced to Congress by Earl Blumenauer last March and passed a House vote last week — has been stripped out of the Energy Bill by the Senate.

The U.S. Senate passed the Energy Bill yesterday, but not before removing several “green initiatives” included in the bill by the Blumenauer-led Ways and Means Committee.

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Bike Commuter Benefits Act to be re-introduced tomorrow

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
Opening Plenary at the Nat'l Bike Summit

Blumenauer at the
Summit opening.

Tomorrow morning, after a speech by Minnesota Congressman Jim Oberstar, Earl Blumenauer plans to re-introduce his Bike Commuter Benefits Act in a press conference on Capitol Hill.

Blumenauer just finished a speech at the opening of the National Bike Summit and he hinted at this news when he confidently said,

“With the congressional shift in Washington, It’s nice to be in a position where I can introduce legislation. The Bicycle Commuter Benefits Act will get a hearing and I think we can get it through this time.”

The Act has been around for years, but went nowhere in the old Congress.

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